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Monday, October 1, 2007

Rush Limbaughness in India

So the Indian Idol craze continues, even after it's over.

A few days ago, a radio jockey made some racist comments about Indian Idol winner Prashant Tamang, his Nepali heritage, and Nepalis overall.
The Radio host said:
“Aaaj Prashant Tamang ‘Nepali ladka from Darjeeling’ [Today Prashant Tamang, Nepali boy from Darjeeling] has become Indian Idol [laughs sarcastically] and we have a [cricket] match tonight so we need to guard our house / malls / restaurants by ourselves as there will be no Nepali people to guard these place and whole night we need to say Jagtay Raho [stay awake].” The RJ also added that all the Footpath Momo shops will remain closed as Nepali guy has become Indian Idol.
The statement is absurd, incredibly racist, and quite offensive. There are stereotypical views that many people of Nepali origins are guards or police officers. Tamang, himself, was before an officer as well. Although the statements are extremely racist, the aftermath was even worse.

About a week ago, I wrote an entry about the extraordinary support Tamang has from his community. When an ambulance was trying to pass through the region where Tamang lives (which is in India, not Nepal), angry mobs prevented an ambulance on its way to the hospital, which resulted in extreme violence from the police. the conflict resulted in sixty injuries.

The outcome is ridiculous, but the underlying sentiments hold strong. Many view Nepalis as lower class citizens, below Indians. As India is growing and prospering, so should the people, and their thinking.